Carnegie Mellon University
October 30, 2023

Returning the Favor

Margaret Morrison Carnegie College alumna Rosalyn Richman’s careful planning will spur generations of Tartans to success.

By Amanda S.F. Hartle

When Carnegie Mellon University alumna Rosalyn Richman was a high school sophomore, her mother realized sending her two daughters to college would be a financial challenge.

“I had good grades, but she was a wise woman,” Rosalyn says. “She knew her salary wouldn’t be enough, so she went looking for a new job and found one at Carnegie Institute of Technology.”

Her mother Selma Ryave’s forethought and position as a bookkeeper for Hunt Botanical Library provided Rosalyn with a tuition-free undergraduate degree in English from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College in 1968.

“My mother, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Margaret Morrison, too, did everything in her power to help me succeed,” Rosalyn says.

Now, Rosalyn says it’s her turn to ensure that same success for her fellow Tartans.

“I feel responsible for helping to open the door for others,” Rosalyn says.

“I know that I can never give enough to match what Carnegie Mellon has given to me.”

Through several avenues of giving, she is returning the favor.

She created an endowed scholarship with her mother, which is named after her sister, Cheryl, who attended CMU for two semesters before passing away from Crohn’s disease at age 22; contributes to another scholarship set up by her mother; and gives recurring support to the CMU Fund, which allows the university to respond nimbly to unforeseen challenges and new opportunities as they arise.

With a legacy gift in her will and estate plans, she’ll also establish the Rosalyn C. Richman Endowed Faculty Development Fund that will perpetually support professional development activities for Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty, with particular emphasis on partnerships and research toward gender equity.

To fund her philanthropy, Rosalyn created multiple CMU charitable gift annuities that pay her income for the rest of her life, allowed her to claim charitable deductions for immediate tax savings and will provide permanent support to Tartans for years to come. She also took advantage of funding her annuities with a gift of appreciated stock, then deferred her income payments for a few years, both of which proved to be tax-savvy and financially advantageous strategies for her circumstances.

She focuses her giving on areas that help CMU women — undergraduate, graduate and faculty members — 
to succeed on campus and in their careers, a lifelong aspiration that she says started during her studies at Margaret Morrison.

“My senior year, I took a seminar with (noted anthropologist and former CMU professor) Peggy Sanday, and it just opened my eyes and a door to a different experience,” Rosalyn says. “It was all women talking about feminist things before feminism was part of the mainstream conversation.”

“I’m just so grateful, I want to give back in whatever ways I can.”

After graduation, she took that mindset and brought it to her volunteer work helping to launch Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley’s chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in honor of her sister and serving in board leadership and fundraising roles in the organization for decades.

She also took a day job at Hahnemann University where she was integral to the creation and development of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program at what is now Drexel University College of Medicine.

The internationally renowned fellowship program prepares women for leadership roles in leading academic, medical, dental and public health organizations. She ultimately became program co-director before retiring in 2013.

“I’ve had the opportunity to grow in a way that has been good for others, and I want others to have that opportunity,” Rosalyn says.

She encourages others to think about how their lives and legacy are a result of their own Carnegie Mellon lessons and perspectives, much like she has done.

"Ask yourself, did you spend your time wisely at CMU? If so, you should want to give back,” Rosalyn says. "And when you’re asked to consider a gift, give more. You won’t regret it."

Interested in achieving your financial goals and supporting Carnegie Mellon University?

Contact the Office of Development & Gift Planning to discuss your next steps.